Four riders left Cheam Station Southside at the appointed hour, Mick Curtis, Adam Domaingue, Sean Slammon and myself leading. Wow, what a difference a week makes! Last Saturday lovely warm weather and gentle breezes. Today barely 6°C and a gusty NE wind. Today saw the first donning of the winter longs and other such clothing that after summer gear feels like you’re wearing three suits!
The route was fairly straightforward out through Nonsuch Park, along the Hogsmill River, Chessington, Claygate, Thames Ditton and popping out onto the Thames Towpath as close to the tea stop as possible. The Towpath has unfortunately, or fortunately (for those who have just discovered it during the Covid crisis) become extremely busy. At this time of year it’s normally reasonably quiet and becomes increasingly desolate the mudder it gets!
The sun was out at Walton Bridge, but with the gusty NE wind had lost any faint heat we might have felt from it. We found a table as best we could out of the wind, in what sun there was to be had and ate our various orders as they rapidly cooled in the brisk Autumn air. The off road paths used to the tea stop are beginning to be camouflaged by falling leaves, so I think I can officially say it’s Autumn. Barry Gregory turned up, which was a pleasant surprise, but alas our meeting was all too short as the chill in the air dissuaded Barry from buying tea and us from ordering a second cup!
Barry stated that the Towpath was hopelessly busy and so I decided once again to take the north side of the Thames through Kempton, Hampton and across Bushey Park the latter being surprisingly busy given the Gusty, cutting NE Wind. At Kingston Bridge we stayed on the road to use the temporary cycle lanes across the bridge only to find they’ve now been removed! It was at this point we ruined one of the many, ‘All the gear and no idea racer’s’ day by starting away from the green light not as fast as he would’ve liked, whilst behind the fellow was frothing at the mouth, bellowing, ‘Go, go, go the light’s changed!’ We all found it highly hilarious that we’d probably ruined his personal best on the Strava section, ‘Idiot sprint on a busy Saturday afternoon over Kingston Bridge!’
After killing ourselves laughing at ‘All the gear and no idea racer boy’ we settled down to a pleasant ride once again following the Hogsmill River away from the traffic maelstrom of Kingston, which to me seemed busier than it has been in a long time despite the rise in the infection rate! After passing through the underpass at the A3 and the south side of Worcester Park the group split. I was parked in Horton Country Park and so the other three headed along the river to Ewell, Nonsuch Park and Sutton. I turned south and headed up through Horton Park. On approaching the car I noticed the cycle computer was reading 37 miles. I unusually had the urge to round it up and so headed off into Epsom Common for a loop to finish the ride getting back to the car at 40.3, lovely.
The Strava app map is showing a little less, but I’ve learnt to distrust Strava. This is owing to walking with my wife both doing the same distance and Strava being +/- a quarter of a mile out between us.
Good ride chaps, thermal long Johns soon!